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School Psychologist Job Description

Stephen Rampur
School psychologists develop behavioral, social, academic and adaptive strategies for students, and interventions to achieve them.
William James...
...commenced a psychology course in America and started the Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life's Ideals series of lectures.
Edward L. Thorndike is sometimes referred to as the 'Father of Educational Psychology', and is known for his extensive research in the field, while Johann Friedrich Herbart is the founder of Pedagogy as an academic field. Their writings describe the responsibilities of an educational psychologist.
According to Peter Gray (a renowned psychologist), the role of a school psychologist is as a data oriented problem solver and a transmitter of psychological knowledge who helps disseminate current research.
The traditional role of an educational psychologist is assessment, intervention, and consultation. However, the roles may change as per the school level (elementary, middle, secondary).

Job Responsibilities

A school psychologist's responsibilities relate to all steps that are taken for providing solutions to the problems and issues faced by students in their schooling. His/her main duty is to encourage students to deal with their everyday problems, and motivate them to study well and get good grades.
The main duties of a school psychologist include
  • To carry out psychological tests/personality assessments in the school for study purposes.
  • To maintain a record of the tests conducted, and also take necessary action.
  • On the basis of the psychological test results, conduct sessions for students with behavioral and social problems.
  • To conduct training sessions for parents to deal with students' problems, such as difficulty in learning, behavior, lack of problem-solving skills, etc.
  • To set up communities for problem referrals of students, parents, and teachers.
  • To work closely with teachers to develop programs that help students with learning barriers.
  • To assist teachers to develop progress monitoring systems.
  • To help develop students' interests in academic programs.
  • To carry out therapy sessions with students, and maintain a steady re-evaluation process to track students' progress.
  • To implement policies related to psychology as per guidelines given by the school.
  • Psychologists may work with students in groups or individually to promote academic success.
  • To engage in staff development activities through counseling sessions, for the administration staff and teachers.
  • To maintain confidentiality of students' psychological evaluation data records.
  • Design new techniques that will help students and staff to overcome social/emotional/mental/behavioral problems.
  • To guide family members of disabled students to mental healthcare physicians.
  • To provide crisis intervention.
  • To upgrade one's knowledge with continuous reading, attending seminars, and training programs.
  • To provide referrals of external psychology agencies for conducting counseling sessions and training programs.
  • Another important duty is to analyze and assess the effectiveness of the current academic programs and schedule.

Desired Qualifications

To become a school psychologist, the qualifications needed are:
  • A Master's Degree in Psychology or a related field.
  • Certification by National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB).
  • School Psychology Certification from a reputed psychology institute as desired by the school management.
  • Prior experience in the field can be an added advantage.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) conducts the School Psychology training program.

NASP Approved Graduate Programs in Psychology

The National Association of School Psychologists has given a list of approved school psychology programs. Anyone who wishes to become a school psychologist can attain a degree from any one of these recognized universities, besides others.
  • University of Alabama
  • Arizona State University
  • California State University - Chico
  • San Diego State University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • Illinois State University
  • University of Iowa
  • Central Washington University
According to Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 of Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of a school psychologist is around $77,000 per year, and it is expected to grow in the future.